Coffee and cocktail trends: are you ready for the ‘explosion’?

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Coffee cocktails: a great way to combat a post-dinner slump
Coffee cocktails: a great way to combat a post-dinner slump

Related tags Coffee Drink Gin

Sophistication, social media and theatre are just three big trends set to hit the coffee and cocktail scene in the next 12 months, according to a new report.

The Tia Maria Coffee Cocktail Futures ​report outlines how pubs can tap into these trends and boost their bottom line.

Globalised palates

Thanks to consumers becoming increasingly well-travelled, they have now developed palates that are able to appreciate flavours that were once alien.

For a new generation of coffee and alcohol drinkers, this has meant a new sense of adventurousness around previously unpopular tastes and combinations such as bitterness and sweetness in the same mix.

Drink Factory head of research and development Zoe Burgess said: “The future of drinks will be more sophisticated. Consumers’ palates are changing and people are becoming more open to try new things.”

Consumers are developing a connoisseur’s appreciation of the provenance and terroir of ingredients in drinks as well as food, leading to a new desire for new taste experiences in coffee and cocktails.

Union Hand Roasted Coffee cocktail and coffee expert David Jameson said: “People want to know where things come from.

“It wasn’t very long ago that your gin and tonic in a pub would have been standardised and quite low quality. But now you really want some kind of gin you’ve never heard of, paired with an extremely extravagant tonic water that you’ve never seen and a garnish style that suits that particular serve.”

Social seekers

Tomorrow’s cocktails culture will be dominated by the demands of Generation Z who will grow up to expect new and exciting drinking experiences and occasions through digital technology and the social media reach they associate with it.

Cocktail coffee renaissance

Driven by Millennial consumers around the world who were raised in a culture that increasingly values discernment and a sense of connoisseurship combined with a constant search for the new and next, a synergy of coffee and cocktail cultures is under way.

Consequently the CGA 2016 Mixed Drinks Report ​shows that 78% of British bars now sell cocktails. Across the licensed trade as a whole – including pubs, restaurants and hotels as well as bars – penetration is now at 28% of sites, up four percentage points on the previous year, according to the report.

Cocktails are most popular in London, where more than one third (36%) of outlets now sell them.

Future coffee cocktail tribes

The report predicts that by the early 2020s, four new tribes of coffee cocktail drinkers will have emerged, using new digital technologies and a growing and adventurous desire for fresh experiences, rituals and taste combinations to redefine the drink and hospitality sector over the next decade.

Within this, the report states, one trend is trust. This will be key to grabbing the interest and keeping the loyalty of a future consumerst' tribe that will look for coffee and drink brands, and products that are aligned with their own high moral standards and personal value systems.

The report concludes that coffee and cocktail culture will explode over the next decade, bringing with it a new wave of multisensory experiences, as well as innovative recipes and techniques, enabled by major technological breakthroughs.

The future of coffee cocktail culture will bring together baristas, chefs, bartenders and technologists who will experiment with fresh serves that cater for a new breed of gastronomically attuned consumers.

Related topics Spirits & Cocktails

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